Our house was built in 1976. Up until last summer the windows in our house were the original windows - flimsy, aluminum windows. The pegs that you pushed to open the window were dry-rotted and broken on the majority of them and that meant if you wanted a breeze you'd have to prop the window open with wooden spoon or one of those free rulers you get at the county fair each summer. Several of them were rattly which was unsettling when the ol' wind would come sweeping down the plains.
A few years ago a guy selling siding and windows came to our house to give us his pitch and try his darndest to sell us new windows throughout our house. After calculating the number of windows (18) and telling us the merits of his fancy schmancy windows he wrote an absurdly obscene number on a sheet of paper and slid it across the table at us. After we picked our eyeballs up and put them back in their sockets we told him to get out of our house. He wanted nearly $20,000 for 18 windows. I have this sneaking suspicion that company didn't sell a lot of windows and that maybe the ones they did sell were to little old ladies who are now eating dog food because they spent all their money on windows.
After that we didn't entertain the thought of new windows anymore. Even though we knew that his bid of $20,000 was WAY more than windows actually cost, we were still gun shy. We decided to spend our money on important things like a trip to Disney World. But then the economy started taking a dive and the environment went all wonky and our electric bill started climbing higher -- it was like an algebraic equation for dog food casserole.
The year before, Mr. Nesbitt's brother and nephew had new roofs put on their houses and they used an Amish company out of Kansas. They were very impressed with the work and Paul's nephew also had them install windows. Again, the work was impressive and the price was lower than what his brother had paid for windows at Lowe's a few months prior. Paul called the number on the business card he was given and even though the card said "Leave a message" he ended up talking to a real live person - a real live AMISH person.
In our community there are quite a few Mennonite families and a church/school just a few miles up the road. They are like Amish Lite - they drive cars, have phones, electricity, etc. but they still wear the cute little Amish clothes and seem to be pretty religiously strict. I've always been under the impression that the Amish do not have electricity or phones, nor do they drive cars. I mean, you see the pictures of their little buggies sharing the highway with cars, right? My aunt, apparently an Amish expert, explained to me that they can have phones as long as they are not taken into the home. And this particular Amish fella has a driver that drives him and his crew to jobs and then sits in the truck all day while they work. (Smart guy, that driver) So he and Mr. Nesbitt chatted that night and worked out a time for him to come over and measure for windows.
I was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt that day. I briefly thought about changing into a skirt before he arrived but then remembered I don't own one. So I just decided that I would stay in the house and stay out of the way because I thought the menfolk would stay outside. See, my darling husband had been asked earlier that day by me to take down the blinds in the bedroom and hose them down because folks, they were DUSTY. And by dusty I mean "so dirty they should be in a haunted house." But no, he said, because the guy would measure from the outside. Now, my intelligent mind told me that this was not true, but my man would not be swayed. I think he was in denial that his wife is a horrible housekeeper and he just hoped the guy would measure outside.
Well, right after Mr. Amish Man and his non-Amish driver showed up Mr. Nesbitt stuck his head inside the front door and said, "Hey, come out here a minute." I looked down at my jeans in panic, considered quickly wiping off some of my makeup, but then decided I didn't have time. I stepped out onto the porch, smiled at our Amish guest and then gave my opinion on what color windows we were going to get.
It was at that precise moment my black-fingernail-clad 12-year-old daughter came busting out the front door wearing a shirt postiviely COVERED in skulls, mouth full of toothpaste, declaring loudly, "DUDE. I JUST BROKE MY TOOTHBRUSH." Then she realized there was a strange bearded man in a straw hat standing on our porch holding a window in one hand and was trying to keep our dog, Gravy, from humping his leg with the other. She nodded his general direction, sucked the toothpaste in her mouth and said, "'Sup." Then went back in the house. I looked at Mr. Amish Man and shrugged.
But then, because God truly does have a sense of humor, that was the exact moment our youngest daughter came busting out the front door, screaming her head off, our son and my nephew close on her heels, waving Nerf guns over their heads shouting, "KILL THE GIRL! KILL THE GIRL!" We just grinned and shook our heads. And Gravy just kept on trying to hump that poor Amish man's leg.
After it was decided we would be getting white windows, I went back in the house, plopped down in my chair in front of my laptop and grabbed up my cell phone to send a Tweet about our amorous dog. The seven-year-old came into the living room and asked why there was a leprechaun in our front yard. I just patted her arm and said, "Sweetie, we live at the end of the rainbow. Now go play with your brother and cousin some more." A few minutes later Mr. Nesbitt and Mr. Amish Man came in to begin measuring. Didja catch that? They came IN to begin measuring. I was wishing I had a nifty pause button on my life like we have on our DVR - I just needed long enough to hose down those haunted house blinds, do a few loads of laundry, mop the kitchen floor, sew myself a skirt and maybe find a different shirt for our Emo child
I moved to the couch so they could get to the window. As Mr. Amish Man was measuring he asked the question, "So, Mr. Nesbitt, where do you work?" I stopped mid-Tweet to watch the conversation. Not thinking to lie through his teeth, my husband replied, "I'm a Supervisor at a casino. I work on slot machines."
The poor guy's beard actually twitched as he briefly paused his measuring to process that reply. I bit my lip to keep from busting out laughing and decided that Twitter would have to wait a few minutes because I needed my phone free to throw at my husband if he said anything else that might cause our window man to have a massive coronary in our living room.
Funny. He didn't ask about my profession. I can only assume he thought I was a street walker or voodoo priestess. I'm sure God got a big ol' earful from that little suspendered man that night. In fact, I'm pretty sure their entire community had prayer for us heathens.
When it was all said and done he gave us a super low bid on the windows and even though he said he wouldn't be able to install for three months, thus giving me sufficient time to sew myself a skirt, I instead decided to keep it real -- and I wore shorts.